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AMD AGESA 1003ABBA promises to resolve Boost issues

Posted on Wednesday, September 11 2019 @ 19:07:19 CEST by

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Last week, there was some controversy about AMD's Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 series. According to a broad survey, a lot of users are unable to hit the advertised Boost frequencies. AMD responded that it identified an issue that could result in lower Boost speeds and now the company is distributing the AGESA 1003ABBA microcode to motherboard makers. AMD believes BIOS updates that contain this patch will be available within the next two to three weeks.

AMD says AGESA 1003ABBA can add up to 25-50MHz to the current Boost speed of Ryzen 3000-series processors:
Starting with our commitment to provide you an update on processor boost, our analysis indicates that the processor boost algorithm was affected by an issue that could cause target frequencies to be lower than expected. This has been resolved. We’ve also been exploring other opportunities to optimize performance, which can further enhance the frequency. These changes are now being implemented in flashable BIOSes from our motherboard partners. Across the stack of 3rd Gen Ryzen Processors, our internal testing shows that these changes can add approximately 25-50MHz to the current boost frequencies under various workloads.

Our estimation of the benefit is broadly based on workloads like PCMark 10 and Kraken JavaScript Benchmark. The actual improvement may be lower or higher depending on the workload, system configuration, and thermal/cooling solution implemented in the PC. We used the following test system in our analysis:

  • AMD Reference Motherboard (AGESA 1003ABBA beta BIOS)
  • 2x8GB DDR4-3600C16
  • AMD Wraith Prism and Noctua NH-D15S coolers
  • Windows 10 May 2019 Update
  • 22°C ambient test lab
  • Streacom BC1 Open Benchtable
  • AMD Chipset Driver 1.8.19.xxx
  • AMD Ryzen Balanced power plan
  • BIOS defaults (except memory OC)

    These improvements will be available in final BIOSes starting in about three weeks’ time, depending on the testing and implementation schedule of your motherboard manufacturer.
  • AGESA 1003ABBA also features changes to make the chip less power hungry in idle mode. This includes a firmware-based version of the software changes that were released in July, with a couple of extra enhancements:
    Today we’re announcing that AGESA 1003ABBA carries firmware-level changes designed to do just that. The changes primarily arrive in the form of an “activity filter” that empowers the CPU boost algorithm itself to disregard intermittent OS and application background noise. Example test cases might include: video playback, game launchers, monitoring utilities, and peripheral utilities. These cases tend to make regular requests for a higher boost state, but their intermittent nature would fall below the threshold of the activity filter.

    Net-net, we expect you’ll see lower desktop voltages, around 1.2V, for the core(s) actively handling such tasks. We believe this solution will be even more effective than the July changes for an even wider range of applications.
    Last but not least, AMD says it will roll out the AMD Ryzen Master Monitoring SDK on September 30. This software developer kit will make it easy to create monitoring tools that can reliable readout a bunch of Ryzen metrics:
    Altogether, there are 30+ API calls within the first SDK release, but we’ve highlighted a few of the more important or interesting ones below:

  • Current Operating Temperature: Reports the average temperature of the CPU cores over a short sample period. By design, this metric filters transient spikes that can skew temperature reporting.
  • Peak Core(s) Voltage (PCV): Reports the Voltage Identification (VID) requested by the CPU package of the motherboard voltage regulators. This voltage is set to service the needs of the cores under active load, but isn’t necessarily the final voltage experienced by all of the CPU cores.
  • Average Core Voltage (ACV): Reports the average voltages experienced by all processor cores over a short sample period, factoring in active power management, sleep states, Vdroop, and idle time.
  • EDC (A), TDC (A), PPT (W): The current and power limits for your motherboard VRMs and processor socket.
  • Peak Speed: The maximum frequency of the fastest core during the sample period.
  • Effective Frequency: The frequency of the processor cores after factoring in time spent in sleep states (e.g. cc6 core sleep or pc6 package sleep). Example: One processor core is running at 4GHz while awake, but in cc6 core sleep for 50% of the sample period. The effective frequency of this core would be 2GHz. This value can give you a feel for how often the cores are using aggressive power management capabilities that aren’t immediately obvious (e.g. clock or voltage changes).
  • Various voltages and clocks, including: SoC voltage, DRAM voltage, fabric clock, memory clock, etc.
  • AMD updated its AMD Ryzen Master (version to support the new Average Core Voltage API for 3rd Gen Ryzen Processors, you can get it over here.



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